Kings slump to third as Cotton inspires Wildcats win
THE Perth Wildcats will go in to the final round of NBL action on top of the ladder after a 95-86 come-from-behind win in overtime against the Sydney Kings.
The Wildcats and Bryce Cotton took a long time to shrug off the nine-day break since their win over the Illawarra Hawks.
Cotton scored his first point 71 seconds before three-quarter-time. But he dropped 14 points in overtime to finish with a game-high 27 points. Before that, Angus Brandt had kept the Cats in the game, with 19 points to three-quartertime; 13 of them in the third quarter; and nearly all of them in the paint against Andrew Bogut. Not that Bogut had a bad game. His 16 points and 15 rebounds means he will go in to the finals with a doubledouble against every team in the competition.
What position the Kings and the Cats go in to the finals series is still yet to be worked out.
Perth hold a one-win and percentage advantage over both Sydney and Melbourne United and will face the latter and Adelaide next weekend.
If they can win in Melbourne, they will finish the season on top of the ladder with home court advantage in the finals, regardless of what happens against the 36ers.
The Kings, who dropped from first to third with the loss in Perth, will play their final game against the Cairns Taipans, with second spot still a chance. Melbourne also play the Taipans before hosting Perth. Adelaide still has plenty to play for also, potentially needing to beat Perth on Friday night to stop Brisbane from knocking them out of fourth spot. Scores were tied 77-77 at full-time despite Sydney having all of the early running.
Kevin Lisch and Jerome Randle kept a tight leash on Cotton to open up a big early lead. Perth scored only 12 points in the first quarter.
Jesse Wagstaff was the only Cat troubling Sydney’s defence, with six points.
Bryce Cotton of the Wildcats.